Sweet crude oil

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Sweet crude oil is a type of petroleum. The New York Mercantile Exchange designates petroleum with less than 0.5% sulfur as sweet.[1][2]

Petroleum containing higher levels of sulfur is called sour crude oil.

Sweet crude oil contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. High-quality, low-sulfur crude oil is commonly used for processing into gasoline and is in high demand, particularly in industrialized nations. Light sweet crude oil is the most sought-after version of crude oil as it contains a disproportionately large fraction that is directly processed (fractionation) into gasoline (naphtha), kerosene, and high-quality diesel (gas oil).

The term "sweet" originates from the fact that a low level of sulfur provides the oil with a relatively sweet taste and pleasant smell, compared to sulfurous oil. Nineteenth-century prospectors would taste and smell small quantities of oil to determine its quality.[3]


Producers of sweet crude oil include:


The term "price of oil", as used in the U.S. media, generally means the cost per barrel (42 U.S. gallons) of West Texas Intermediate Crude, to be delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma during the upcoming month. This information is available from NYMEX or the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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  1. ^ "Oil markets explained". BBC News. 'Sweet' crude is defined as having a sulphur content of less than 0.5%.
  2. ^ Szymon Wlazlowski , Björn Hagströmer & Monica Giulietti (2011). "Causality in crude oil prices". Applied Economics. Applied Economics (Vol. 43 Issue24). 43 (24): 3337–3347. doi:10.1080/00036841003636250. Crudes are considered to be sweet when the sulphur content does not exceed 0.5% and sour otherwise.
  3. ^ "Description of the MC 252 Crude Oil" (PDF). Oil Spill Academic Task Force, State of Florida. Retrieved January 28, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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